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Michael Strahan heads diverse group of seven headed to Hall of Fame

Michael Strahan, Former NFL player and co-host of

Michael Strahan, Former NFL player and co-host of "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," answers questions from the press during the FOX Sports media availability. (Jan. 28, 2014) Credit: Getty Images

Michael Strahan was the local headliner in the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, but he was only part of an eclectic seven-man group that will be inducted this summer in Canton.

It included two first-ballot choices in offensive tackle Walter Jones and linebacker Derrick Brooks, two who had to wait their turns in receiver Andre Reed and cornerback Aeneas Williams, and two Veterans Committee picks -- one of whom made history.

Former Raider Ray Guy became the first player who primarily was a punter to be elected to the Hall. Joining him from the senior group was defensive end Claude Humphrey.

Williams noted another historical element to the 2014 class. Three of its members came out of historically black colleges: Strahan, Humphrey and Williams.

Brooks and Jones were considered likely to gain election from the committee of 46 journalists who met through the day Saturday, as was Strahan, who was in his second year of eligibility. (Bob Glauber of Newsday made the presentation on Strahan's behalf to the selection committee.)

Reed, who retired after the 2000 season, was a mild surprise, only because he had been passed over so often and because fellow receiver Marvin Harrison was in his first year of eligibility.

"The emotions right now are overwhelming,'' said Reed, whose Hall of Fame quest long has been a sore spot among fans of the early 1990s Bills. "My dad always told me patience is a virtue.''

Reed joked about the challenge of playing in Buffalo, saying, "No matter what the weather was, it was cold.''

Veterans Committee choices often attract less attention than modern-day picks, but Guy was a milestone.

After the announcement, he said he hoped his inclusion would open the door for more such honors for his position and inspire younger players.

"It's going to give the younger generation -- the punters and the placekickers and the snappers and all that -- it's given them hope now that there's a place for us and now it's more recognized,'' he said.

Jones might have been the safest bet of all; he made nine Pro Bowls. The fact he was selected the day before his former team, the Seahawks, will try to win its first Lombardi Trophy added to the moment.

Brooks never missed a game in a 14-year career with the Buccaneers during which he made six Pro Bowls. "Seeing the emotions of my wife pour out,'' he said, "that's kind of when it hit home."

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